Keris Stainton‘s fortnightly column on married life…
Warning: this column contains scenes of potty training peril
Ah, parenting. Or, to be more specific, shared parenting. Is it just us or do all parents think that they are each doing more than their fair share? That they are each hard done by while the other gets off lightly?
I’ll give an example, knowing that I am going to come out of it badly, but there are extenuating circumstances that I can’t divulge yet, you’ll just have to trust me, okay?
So last night, we’d just got in from taking our son, Harry, out for the afternoon. Harry went on the computer, while my husband went into the kitchen, put on his iPod and started washing dishes. I, in contrast, sat on the sofa with a book. I wasn’t feeling very well and it was the first chance I’d had to sit down all day. And, yeah, okay, we’d just got out of the car, but sitting down in the car isn’t the same as sitting down on a comfortable sofa, is it?
Moments later, Harry announced that he needed a poo. Yes, we left the potty training incredibly late (Harry was 4 yesterday), but the wee side of things was done and dusted within about a week, the pooing is a bit slower going. He tends to leave it until the very last moment, when he shouts, “The poo is leaving!” and we pretty much have to catch it before it hits the carpet.
Harry assured me that a poo was forthcoming so I rushed him into the other room where the potty was. Except the potty still had wee in it from earlier (what can I say? Emptying the potty – not my idea of a good time) and Harry won’t go in a dirty potty so I had to take the potty upstairs and empty it except we still had the problem of Harry hopping up and down and singing, “The poo is coming!”
So I shouted David, who was, you remember, doing the dishes with his iPod on. He didn’t hear me. I shouted him again. He turned round, exasperated, and said, “WHAT?!” “Harry needs a poo and I need to empty the potty,” I said. “Can you just come in here and make sure he doesn’t go on the carpet?” “Can’t I just have FIVE MINUTES?!” David said. “When do I get *my* five minutes?!” I yelled, as I carried the potty up the stairs.
Yes, I appreciate that I wanted to sit on my bum reading a book, while my lovely husband was washing dishes, but still. He was enjoying himself, I was enjoying myself, neither of us was happy to be interrupted and we both felt hard done by. But what can you do? When a kid’s gotta go, a kid’s gotta go.
Plus, of course, we’ve both had plenty of minutes to ourselves, whether it be in the morning when Harry’s at preschool or in the evening when he’s gone to bed. We actually do know how lucky we are because Harry is incredibly easy to take care of and yet, sometimes neither of us wants to do it. But I guess that’s what parenting’s about – you do it whether you want to or not. Or at least you do if you don’t want poo on the carpet…